Being a Caring Rider

Are you a caring rider?

Horse looking out of stable window. Picture wa...

The Horse is Always Right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The horse is always right

We have heard this statement many times, from some of the great riding masters. I’d like to add, the horse never lies. If he doesn’t like something he will let you know. It may be resistance in the way of tail swishing, teeth grinding or worse – bucking.

This has been proven to me over and over again. When I teach I often say, “Your horse is talking to you. What is he saying?”
S/He may be saying:

  • “I don’t know how to do that?” or “I don’t understand what you’re asking me.” Meaning they have not been trained how to do the movement.

 – OR  –

  • “I know how to do that, but I can’t because you are sitting wrong.”

    English: A Standardbred horse going nicely in ...

    Why does my horse <fill in the blank here>? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • “I know how to do that, but I can’t because I’m not strong enough.”

Day after day, lesson after lesson I see this. Riders punishing horses for not understanding what is being asked of them.

Riders ask me, why won’t my horse move away from my leg? I say because you haven’t trained him to move away from your leg. You’ve successfully trained him to IGNORE your leg.

My goal is to share my passion for horses, for training and to encourage riders to listen to their horses and understand the questions they have.

Equestrian Skill Builders, Laura Kelland-May, Thistle Ridge STables

Why would a horse want to willingly do that?

A better question may be is why would a horse want to do any of these things willingly?

The answer is what is his motivation to do them. What is the payoff? The “What’s In It For Me? Question.

This is more than “because I am the boss and I asked you to.”

This type of dominant, “I am the boss” dominant relationship with your horse will not result in a compatible relationship. It will be one a one sided affair and your horse will not feel safe and comfortable with you. At the first sign of trouble your horse will take off and leave you behind.

Think of building a trusting relationship with your horse.

A relationship built on mutual trust and understanding will from horse’s point of view will

The diving horse at Hanlan's Point

provide a safe secure environment in which the horse feels comfortable. This will lend itself to a learning relationship.

Horses are naturally curious animals and will investigate new surroundings. Their lives depend on it. Horses are social creatures and are ready to follow and give their loyalty to a worthy herd leader.

A leader who will take care of them and who keep them safe.

Any questions? I’d love to hear from you.



About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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